Cindy Sherman

Works from the Olbricht Collection

19.05.2018 - 24.02.2019

In a large solo exhibition, the Weserburg is presenting over 60 photographic works by the American artist Cindy Sherman from nearly all phases of her work. This will be the first time that such a large collection of images by the world-famous artist has been shown in northern Germany. The works represent a very special focus of the Olbricht Collection. Cindy Sherman is regarded by the public as an important feminist artist. However, the works assembled by Thomas Olbricht make it clear that the overall oeuvre is far more diverse. Indeed, the artist has enormously enriched debates about “female identity,” about socially anchored role patterns and the expectations and clichés associated with them. But this exhibition is also about existential themes, about dreams, fears, and sometimes disturbing and frightening fantasies of violence and death, and thus ultimately about a deeper understanding of the complete work of this important artist.

Cindy Sherman became famous in the late 1970s with her “Untitled Film Stills.” In them, she documents portrayals of women that are reminiscent of scenes from feature films or television series. The artist herself slips into various disguises and poses, embodying the social role patterns in which we reflect and find ourselves. The exhibition also shows outstanding examples of the work groups “History Portraits”, “Headshots”, “Disasters” and “Sex Pictures” to the terrifying “Clowns”, “Masks”, “Horror and Surrealist Pictures”.

Fascination and disillusionment characterize in a special way the series of “Headshots”, which is presented in a successful selection of twelve works. In this series, Cindy Sherman embodies middle-aged women who once again evoke their youthful attractiveness and at the same time are prisoners of their lifetime. They present themselves in intentional self-effacement before a camera that reveals the unintentional blending of desired and truthful appearance.

Their observations as women in today’s culture are at the same time observations of fears and nightmares. They are mixed with an abysmal humor that still attends each of her pictorial horrors. Exemplary of this are the “Clowns,” in which comedy and horror, fascination and disgust are blended. They form a climax of these photographic stagings.

The shocking images in which Sherman arranges body parts of dolls and mannequins in grotesque mutilation point beyond the theme of staged femininity. In them, she is not to be seen at all as a living model of her harrowing pictorial inventions. These examples of the obscene, which touch the boundaries of understanding, and even fantasies of dismemberment, can be found several times in the exhibition. In her work, Cindy Sherman thus goes beyond the fascination of exposing oneself to the formative power of found roles. In the end, she is able to show how we gradually become accustomed to patterns that deeply frighten us.

Press comments

“frightening, provocative and revealing” buten un binnen

“Aesthetics meets repulsiveness, and often the two also blur inseparably into each other.” Weser-Kurier

“The fact that Peter Friese is primarily showing Sherman’s disturbing, uncomfortable works makes the exhibition particularly worth seeing. The longtime director of the Weserburg, who is retiring in the fall, has thus once again succeeded in a coup as a farewell.” NDR Culture

“As little as Sherman serves up simple answers to the questions she negotiates, she is clearly concerned with disturbing certainties. “Kreiszeitung

“absolutely worth seeing exhibition” Kreiszeitung

“Cindy Superstar Foyer

Offers for schools

Exhibition visits with overview tours of the highlights or with the following main topics:

I. Film, Photo and Performance
II. self-portrait and transformation
III. horror, fairy tale and grotesque
IV. I am many. Role models in art

Guided tours for school classes with and without practical part:

60 minutes, guide fee: 40 euros
90 minutes, guided tour fee: 60 euros

The offers apply to Sek I and Sek II and are accordingly age-appropriate. Separate guided tours for the primary level only by prior arrangement. Some of the exhibited works could be perceived as disturbing.

Sparkasse Bremen AG allows free admission to all children and young people up to the age of 18. Only guided tour fees apply, if applicable!

Registration for group visits / guided tours:
0421 59839-0 or